Sep 05 2011
The tour’s first BBC Proms concert at the Royal Albert Hall brought the Pittsburgh Symphony and Manfred Honeck to a worldwide audience. I was invited to co-host the broadcast with Suzy Klein in the tiny box on the audience left side. The hall was full with the Prommers standing right to the front rail through the entire concert. They pay five British pounds each, and they were waiting in some light rain this evening. The BBC staff were delightful. The Prommers shouted “Heave Ho!,” when PSO Production Manager John Karapandi lifted the piano lid. Later, they chanted that they had raised 75,000 pounds for the Musicians Benevolent Fund. I saw Jonathan Mayes in front of the Royal Albert Hall. Jonathan worked with Pittsburgh Symphony VP Bob Moir in the Artistic Planning Department for three years until he returned to London for a job in in 2008. Jonathan works for the British Arts Council, which awards 350 million pounds (down from 450 million, but still more than the NEA’s $200 million dollars). A soccer team from Ghana is in the hotel with the Pittsburgh Symphony making for a lively lobby. The bar is Trader Vic’s. It was a lively post-concert environment tonight.
Don’t miss the seven day window for listening to tonight’s concert online at the BBC Proms website. http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms. When I first checked the site this afternoon the “Beeb” had spelled Pittsburgh without the “h,” but now they’ve corrected it. Listen for interviews with Christiane Honeck; Dennis Yablonsky, Chief Executive Officer of the Allegheny Conference; and BBC presenter Suzy Klein with pianist Mark Swartzentruber.
Leaving Lucerne this morning, I tuned in the Swiss SF2 network to find they spend the early hours simulcasting their morning pop radio show – in the manner of Howard Stern on cable networks at home. The DJ wore a plaid shirt over a white T-shirt, played Nena’s oldie 99 Luftballoons and mentioned that it’s “9/11 Woche.” Watching radio on TV is quite silly, but for me it has some fascination. He had five computer screens on his desk where once there would have been turntables or CD players. His sidekicks and sports and weather announcers made cameo appearances. They also played Tom Jones and a rapper named Mousse T in a hit I’d never heard called Sex Bomb. Is Tom Jones still around? Then there was an ad for Desperate Housewives dubbed in German.
The Financial Times of London’s weekend edition published a lengthy article on the tenth anniversary of 9/11. The Pittsburgh Symphony will play the final concert of this tour on the tenth anniversary. There is a special ceremony planned at Berlin’s City Hall with mayor Klaus Wowereit, a choir of young Muslim singers, and readings of letters from children who lost their parents on 9/11. The event is organized by the US Embassy and the German government. A string quartet will play Barber’s Adagio, and a brass quartet will play Hindemith’s Morgenmusik – reflecting Paul Hindemith’s time spent in both Germany and America. Paul Hindemith wrote his Pittsburgh Symphony on commission for the Pittsburgh.
I thought you might like to read how the Germans announced the event, as sent to me by my friend Ken Nein, fellow Thiel College graduate, who has lived in Berlin for the past thirty years.
“Der Regierende Bürgermeister von Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, und der Botschafter der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika, Philip D. Murphy, haben für Sonntag, 11. September 2011, um 14.30 Uhr zu einer gemeinsamen Gedenkveranstaltung anlässlich des zehnten Jahrestages der Terroranschläge des 11. September 2001 ins Rote Rathaus geladen. Wowereit bittet die Gäste um 14.46 Uhr um die Teilnahme an der weltweiten Schweigeminute zum Gedenken an die Opfer. Anschließend halten Wowereit und Murphy Gedenkreden. Nach einer kurzen Überleitung durch Reverend Stephan Kienberger der American Church tragen Jugendliche Sätze aus Glaubensbüchern verschiedener Religionen vor. Die JUGA-Gruppe „Sweet Co-Existence“ interpretiert einen Song. Abschließend wird aus englischsprachigen Briefen von Kindern, die ihre Eltern durch die Terroranschläge des 11. September 2001 verloren haben, vorgelesen, u. a. von Schülerinnen und Schülern der John-F.-Kennedy-Schule. Musikalisch wird die Veranstaltung von Mitgliedern des Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra begleitet.”